Racing Club claimed their first point of the Torneo Apertura 2009 on Friday night thanks to a late equalising goal from their new forward Rubén Ramírez against his old team, Colón de Santa Fé, whilst Andrés Franzoia got a last-gasp winner for Central away to Tigre. Given the chance to level things from the spot in the 90th minute, Ramírez made no mistake, and celebrated long and hard in spite of having just stolen a point from his former employers.
Racing were in desperate want of a win tonight in order to give them a little more daylight over the bottom four in the Promedio. That was all the more vital since earlier in the evening Rosario Central got a hard-fought win away to Tigre in Victoria.
The first half saw a lack of proper finishing combine with one or two sharp saves from both goalkeepers to keep the scores level – Diego Pozo in the Racing goal pulling off the best save of match around halfway through the opening period when faced with a weak shot from Pablo Lugüercio after the hosts had played their way into the visiting box on the counter attack.
The second half was twenty minutes old when Colón were awarded a free kick thirty-five yards out in the left-hand channel, which full back Germán Rivarola shot from. Racing goalie Pablo Santillo scrambled for it, and managed to keep it out from under his crossbar, but dropped the ball right on the forehead of Federico Nieto, who had the easiest of headed finishes past an unbalanced goalkeeper. In spite of Racing boss Ricardo Caruso Lombardi’s protestations of offside, the goal stood.
Racing had little by way of a response in the minutes that followed, and Esteban Fuertes might have doubled Colón’s lead after a nice turn in the six yard box, but found himself expertly denied by Santillo, determined to make up for the error which had gifted Colón the lead.
As it looked like the match was fading to a Colón win, though, some of the spirit of the 2009 Clausura shone through for Racing. Caruso sent on 18-year-old Luis Fariña for his debut, and the youngster was felled by Alexis Ferrero in the visiting penalty box in the 90th minute. Of all the men who might have taken the spot kick for Racing, it just had to be Ramírez, against his former club, who saved a point for the hosts.
It was a vital point, because just before that match, Racing’s relegation rivals Rosario Central claimed a vital and unexpected win away to Tigre. Both teams came off the backs of wins in the first weekend (2-1 over Chacarita for Tigre; 1-0 over Racing for Central), and both wanted the win tonight for different reasons. Eager to start the campaign strongly in their first home match and push for another title challenge, Tigre were guilty of some wastefulness in Victoria at both ends of the pitch, before Diego Chitzoff gave away a stupid penalty with a challenge on Carlos Luna. Tigre forward Martín Morel stepped up and converted the penalty to put the hosts ahead after 19 minutes.
Central equalised just two minutes on, Emilio Zelaya stabbing past two defenders. By half time it was struggling Central who looked the better side, and that continued after the break with Tigre able to offer little more than the occasional flash from Martín Morel or Leandro Lázzaro up front. It looked to be heading for a draw until, with two minutes of normal time left, Central boss Ariel Cuffaro Russo sent Andrés Franzoia onto the pitch. Five minutes later, deep into stoppage time, Franzoia finished low and hard past Daniel Islas to win it for Central. Three vital points – and with Racing only able to draw, it might yet turn out to be a huge result.
The future for Racing is dark, dark indeed. This one can’t even be blamed for poor officiating (which was atroucious!) but if Racing doesn’t find their stride sooner or later it won’t be pretty, They won’t go straight down to la B but are going to find themselves in the same position as Gimnasia last Clausura – tooth and nail in the promocion playoff – but time around against the likes of Defensa y Justicia or Quilmes
The Racing game at Arsenal is going to be huge. It looks like they’ll lose this against Velez, so beating them puts us within a point. Arsenal are going to be right in the middle of this relegation fight too.
That’s a ‘Grondona’ penalty to Arsenal.
It’s going to be tough to send them down, but I hope everyone can get together and do it. Can’t believe I’m sat here cheering for Velez tonight…
Thanks for that one Maxi. ;-)